Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has taken a senior pilot off duty after he allegedly slept for two-and-a-half-hours while on an Islamabad-London flight, a report on Sunday said.

The incident happened in April when Amir Akhtar Hashmi took the nap in the passenger compartment after handing over the aircraft to an under-training pilot soon after the take-off, the Dawn said.

This put the lives of over 305 passengers at risk, it said.

Dawn quoted unnamed sources as saying that PIA was initially reluctant to act against Hashmi, a former president of the highly influential Pakistan Air Lines Pilots Association (PALPA) “but later caved in to pressure from above”.

PIA spokesperson Danyal Gilani told Dawn that Hashmi was off from flying duty due to the investigation under way but refused to share further details.

On April 26, Hashmi was in charge of operating the London-bound PK-785 along with first officer Ali Hassan Yazdani, the Dawn said.

Another first officer, Mohammad Asad Ali, who was under training, was also in the cockpit.

Hashmi, an instructor, gets paid over Rs 100,000 each month to train pilots and was supposed to train Ali during the flight. “However, instead of performing his duty, Hashmi went for a quick lie-down.”